UCLA's Jorge Salcedo among four college soccer coaches indicted in 'Operation Varsity Blues' admissions scandal

Longtime UCLA men's soccer coach Jorge Salcedo, a former U.S. international, was placed on leave on Tuesday after he was one of nine college coaches, including three former women's soccer coaches, indicted in a bribery scheme that involved dozens of parents trying to get their children who otherwise might not have gained admission to top-level universities admitted on made-up credentials as recruited athletes.

DOJ: Indictment

Fifty people were charged following an investigation dubbed "Operation Varsity Blues"  into the activities of a Newport Beach-California-based college admissions consulting company Edge College Career Network and Key Worldwide Foundation, founded by William Singer, that received approximately $25 million from parents trying to get their children into college.

"These parents are a catalog of wealth and privilege," U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said at Boston federal court in announcing the charges.

Salcedo is accused in two cases of conspiring to commit racketeering:

-- In the first case, which took place in 2016, he is alleged to have received the transcript, standardized test scores and falsified soccer profile of a young women from former USC women's head coach Ali Khosroshahin and passed them on to a UCLA women’s soccer coach. When the student was admitted to UCLA, her parents donated Facebook stock worth more than $250,000 to Key Worldwide Foundation and a sports marketing firm Salcedo controlled received a payment of $100,000 from a Key Worldwide Foundation account.

-- In the second case, Salcedo is accused of receiving another $100,000 payment in October 2018 from one of the Key Worldwide Foundation accounts for designating the son of an Edge client as a men's soccer recruit, facilitating his admission to UCLA when the student didn't play competitive soccer.

Jorge Salcedo's Career ...

Salcedo first came to prominence as captain of the 1989 U.S. Under-17 World Cup team. He played for UCLA when it won the 1990 NCAA Division I title and spent five years in MLS with the LA Galaxy, Chicago, Columbus and Tampa Bay while earning three caps for the USA. He has coached UCLA since 2004, making him the second-longest tenured Bruin men's coach after the late Sigi Schmid, whom he played for.

Under Salcedo, UCLA has advanced to the NCAA Division I title game in 2006 and 2014. In recent years, the Bruins have struggled as more players from talent-rich Southern California turn pro out of high school, but they continue to produce top pro prospects.

Abu Danladi was the No. 1 SuperDraft pick by Minnesota United in 2017 and Frankie Amaya went No. 1 to expansion FC Cincinnati in 2019. Anderson Asiedu (Atlanta United), Matt Hundley (Colorado) and Erik Holt (Real Salt Lake) also signed this season with MLS teams, while Mohammed Kamara signed with Germany's Paderborn after one season in Westwood.

Three other former college coaches were also charged:

-- Khosroshahin, who coached the Women of Troy to a national title in 2007, and former assistant Laura Janke were charged with racketeering conspiracy, accused of accepting payments totaling more than $350,000 sent to a private soccer club they controlled in exchange for getting four children of Singer's clients designated as women's soccer recruits even though they didn't play competitive soccer.

-- Former Yale women's head coach Rudy Meredith, who coached the Bulldogs from 1995 until November 2018, was charged to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and honest services wire fraud; honest services wire fraud. In one case, Singer clients paid $1.2 million for their daughter to get admitted to Yale as a "co-captain of a prominent club soccer team in Southern California" even though she didn't play competitive soccer. Singer is accused of asking Janke to make her look good: "Needs to play Academy and no high school soccer." “The head coach of women’s soccer at Yale” was identified in court documents as being a cooperating witness in the case since April 2018 “in the hope of obtaining leniency when he is sentenced" after pleading guilty to the charges and being ordered to forfeit a total of $866,000.

The coaches: The soccer coaches were among nine college coaches indicted, in addition to a USC athletic administrator.
The sports: Other sports included sailing, tennis, volleyball and water polo.
The universities: Cases involved fraudulent admissions to other Division I programs: Georgetown, San Diego, Wake Forest, Stanford and University of Texas at Austin.
√ The parents: Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin and Napa Valley winemaker Agustin Huneeus Jr. were also indicted. Many were from wealthy Bay Area neighborhoods.

The case also involved SAT and ACT admission tests being taken by someone other than the student -- or having the answers corrected.

Singer pleaded guilty on Tuesday on charges of racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction of justice.

16 comments about "UCLA's Jorge Salcedo among four college soccer coaches indicted in 'Operation Varsity Blues' admissions scandal".
  1. Wallace Wade, March 13, 2019 at 10:17 a.m.

    Hoping these individuals will be severely punished. Should be barrred from Coaching for life. 

  2. Ginger Peeler, March 13, 2019 at 12:14 p.m.

    While it seems the facts will likely find them guilty, they’ve only been indicted so far. So, they’re still “innocent until proven guilty”. They probably are not in prison or jail unless they’ve already pled guilty. 

  3. Ric Fonseca replied, March 13, 2019 at 2:35 p.m.

    Ginger:  Thanks for your comment, however, I must say that in my and many other college coaches I have had the pleasure of knowing and competing, from the community college to NCAA I<II<III< and NAIA, since late 1968-9, as well as having been involved in intercollegiate administrative jobs, I must say that this scandal doesn't surprise me in the least , but what does susprise me is that a coach whom I have known for several decades got caught up in this mess.  You're correct, he/they are innocent until proven guilty, and we here in the LA/SoCalif area will soon find out what happened yesterday in court yet the rumor out there says that this is but just the probervial tip of the iceberg.
    As for R2D2Dad, I am having a bit of trouble trying to dissect his comment, and I really canot pojnpoint just what he's trying to say, implying perhaps that it was ok, and that all the coaches should get are red cards and several game suspensions?  One sad note, though, is that it was refreshing to finally find out why the Trojan coaches were fired several years ago and then after winning the ncaa!  I guarantee that there will be more, e.g. the LA Times article alluded to the possibility of the trojan football program also tainted.... 

  4. R2 Dad, March 13, 2019 at 12:26 p.m.

    Very interesting. No one was abused. When coaches abuse referees they get ejected and a 1 game suspension. But he is going to get blacklisted for life because money and violation of public trust? I thought white collar crimes were supposed to result in lesser sentences and a financial penalty/slap on the wrist. Should have been a banker--no one went to jail for the 2008 Great Recession (other than a couple for plain vanilla insider trading). I'm just stirring the pot here, very unusual for SA to name names. I suspect he will also run afoul of tax laws when all is said and done. 

  5. Ginger Peeler replied, March 13, 2019 at 4:06 p.m.

    Ric and R2, the tragedy here is that a truly deserving student, one with good skills and understanding of the game, was passed over and the scholarship actually went to a rich kid who’d never played higher than rec soccer. The kids who received the scholarships actually lied (on their applications), cheated (someone else took the test for them) and stole (the scholarship itself). Did they feel entitled?  Bad enough for the parents to buy off a university official, but to even set foot on that campus, pretending they earned the right?  What’s wrong with these people?! Apparently, there were a couple university registrars also involved. It seems to be a big mess and I’m really sorry to see someone from the soccer community involved. 

  6. Wooden Ships replied, March 13, 2019 at 9:03 p.m.

    Nicely done Ginger. 

  7. Hugh T replied, March 14, 2019 at 4:31 p.m.

    Actually Ginger, you don't know the facts of this situation and you're otherwise making a huge assumption that is unsupported by evidence.  First, the kids that benefited from this bribery scheme did not receive scholarships, athletic or otherwise.  They were given the benefit of easier admission standards as being potential "walk-on," i.e. nonsholarship, athletes.  It is pretty common, especially in the not-profitable sports to "recruit" a lot walk-on athetes that have a chance to help a team.   Your other assumption, which is being repeated across the internet to fuel the current outrage craze, is that each of these underqualified students "took a spot" away from another deserving student.  Please-- college enrollments fluxuate from year to year.  A regular student does not clipped avery time a walk on is helped.  (Maybe you can argue it should not be done but there is no one-for-one exchange.)  

    I agree the whole thing stinks and it makes you wonder if anyone has any scruples anymore.  Once you're bending rules beyond their breaking point AND taking taking bribes it is really hard to have much sympathy for them.  Morals aside-- was it really worth risking your career for?  Certainly anyone with a brain has to know that once 've taken a bribe you're all in.  

         

  8. becky rogers, March 13, 2019 at 12:50 p.m.

    Not suprised after going through NCAA Division 1 recruiting with my son, so corrupt.

  9. George Kirchner, March 13, 2019 at 1:18 p.m.

    Since Penn State "took the big hit" over the Sandusky scandal, I hope the NCAA comes down hard on all of these universities and suspends the various programs from participating in NCAA contests.  Of course we'll hear that "the Administration" didn't know anything about this and should be exempt. That's what Penn State said too and those trials are still going on and jail time is being served. It's obvious tha the corruption at the Division 1 level is enough to make one wretch!

  10. John Richardson, March 13, 2019 at 2:02 p.m.

    Bummer that adults misbehaving leads to the emabrassemnt for the "student". Cocktail party talk of trophy colleges.  Wouldnt it just be cheaper to buy the college sticker for the Lexus ?

  11. Craig Cummings, March 14, 2019 at 12:07 a.m.

    I do not believe the students got D1 soccer scholarships as what coach would waiste a D1 scholarship  on a non player, there are not that many. Just watching Los Angeles news and they wanted to ask Alis wife a  question at there house in orange county Ca. Very sad as I have reffed his crollege  teams many times. And also Salcedo as a player and a coach.

  12. Ric Fonseca replied, March 14, 2019 at 12:39 a.m.

    Mr. Cummings:  Getting from your comment that you're familiar with the Los Angeles area, then I would assume that you also know of that which has been going on for so many years, asking "what coach could waste a D1 scholarship on a non player....(sic)" and that "there are not that many...(sic)?  REALLY?  As for Coach Ali, well, uhmmm, ok.  I can surely tell you that we are all very saddened and, yes, in shock, as to what has finally gotten caught up in the "oh what crooked webs we weave, when we so practice to deceive...."  (is it apologies to the Bard?)

  13. Chris Haskell replied, March 14, 2019 at 1:06 p.m.

    No where his it been mentioned that these kids received scholarships. From all the facts released up to this point this was a pay to get on a preferred entry list and NEVER play or show up to a practice once on campus.  This wasn't about kids taking scholarships or other athletes slots away at schools but WAS about these PAY TO PLAY parents taking slots from academically talented kids who deserved to be attending that university over their children. 
    At most schools Coaches present a list of names of students that they are recruiting prioritized and listed as scholarship or non-scholarship.  Those that fall into the range of the typical student profile at that school are usually waved through while those below par are given more scrutiny/rigor to their application and their ability to ulrimately succeed at the university.  

    Basically Singer and his crooked coaches found a weakness/soft spot in the admissions circle and attacked it with vigor. In these non-revenue sports it won't be AS noticed when a kid ormore falls off the roster or never makes it there as these "non-scholarship" athletes are rarely if ever touted by the univeristy coaches/ athletic department as "athletes" entering the University. Having them slip under the radar this way was an ingenius ploy by this guy and it worked for years.  Only problem is is when 1 person rats you out your whole empire crumbles. 

    Comparing this to kids who are playing on a Div 1 team and you view as having less than Div 1 talent is an invalid comparison. Those kids are athletes whether you feel they are qualified for the level they play doesn't matter. What matters is whether the coach likes them for their program or not. IF the player you feel isn't good enough it will result in either then not playing or if the coach plays them potential adverse results for the coach on the field. Having coached & played in college in multple sports I've never come across a coach who purposely sabotage their livelihood by having all these supposed "bad players" play just to they can lose. 

    These parents who aren't helping their children develop one bit by paying off these people are the ones to blame and its great to see them in the tarnished light they sit in today.

  14. Ginger Peeler, March 14, 2019 at 6:16 p.m.

    Gentlemen, I sincerely apologize for spreading false information. That’s the last thing I want to do. I was commenting based on what I was watching when the story first broke. Scholarships were specifically mentioned. Since then, the news seems to have been “walked back” and I failed to update my info. But the latest info does specify coaches targeting recruits to walk on. I suppose I’ve watched Rudy one too many times and have seen my own alma mater place it’s walkons on the court in the last games of the season...I thought walkons were the kids who went to the coaches, after admission, and begged to be able to do “whatever” to be a part of the team. Obviously, I’m out of the loop. Even so, shouldn’t “recruited” walkons be showing up for practices, all games, etc? And these kids, or their parents have still stolen a position from a another kid who had actually earned a place as a student, whether athletes or not; apparently the universities accept “x amount” of students per year. Period. 

  15. Ric Fonseca replied, March 15, 2019 at 3:43 p.m.

    Ginger, thanks for your keen insight, but there's no need to apologize. There is a helluva lot yet to be said and to be uncovered!  As an student in a local high school in the LA area was quoted as saying" I'm not surprised, I know several instances, and more is bound to be uncovered."  And so, "Oh what crooked webs we weaved, when we so practice to deceive...."  "money talks and people walk!"

  16. Richard Broad, March 14, 2019 at 7:45 p.m.

    Really hope the allegations regarding Jorge Alcedo prove untrue. My dealings with him have always been positive. All these individuals are entitled to a fair trial and the presumption of innocence. If they are guilty of the accusations, there is no place for them in the sport.

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